Idea #1: Be a Speaker or Give a Presentation
There’s nothing like live interaction with your potential customers to turn them into actual customers. You don’t have to be a professional speaker to do this, trust me. Here are 2 simple presentations I did when I had my shop and my line that DEFINITELY got me direct business.
1) The Girl Scouts of America. No, I’m not kidding! They were having a career day and I did a talk on what it’s like to be a fashion designer. The girls were charming and it was a blast! The way to get business from this is as follows: hand out something – in this case, “7 things fashion designers do that Girl Scouts can do at home”, sketching, learn to sew, etc. The girls take it home to their Moms, all the info on your company is there et voila, a ton of new leads.
2) My Mom’s company’s lunchroom. Yep, I took the show on the road to her corporate headquarters and set up a little room near the lunch area. In this case I brought product with me too. My simple talk was about different ways to wear the same necklace. I sold a TON of jewelry (from my retail shop) and was swarmed with ladies. But the greatest part was the ripple effect of that day – the friends of those “employee shoppers” that found me after the event.
Idea #2: Use the back of your business card
A while back I was working with a womenswear client of mine and happened to meet another consultant while I was there. She also works with Indie designers but from a completely different angle – more on the manufacturing side. She handed me her card and on the back was a terrific idea.
She had printed “5 Ways You Can…” – I can’t remember what the 5 tips were, exactly, but I do remember that they were well done and relevant to her target market. What’s so great about this?
1) She positions herself as the expert
2) She is already offering value – at no cost, of course – which shows potential clients the information they’ll get after they hire her will be even better.
As a designer, you can do the same thing. Think about what your customers are always asking you. Do they want tips on ways to wear and tie a scarf? The 5 hottest trends for this season? 5 ways to dress up your favorite jeans? You can easily give this info on the back of your card.
Idea #3: Make better use of your email list
I know a lot of you love to get on Facebook and Twitter and spread the word that way. While I believe in the merits of social media and I think it has a place, it’s also a major time-suck that entrepreneurs use as an excuse to avoid “real” work. The BEST media-related way to reach your customers is email. I’ve always believed this and was thrilled to find some “proof” recently — check out this graphic from smartertools.com.
Regarding your emails, keep in mind 2 things. 1) Your emails must be consistent and 2) your emails must be engaging — offering your customers or prospects something more than a constant “buy my stuff” message.